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Albert Hall Manchester Disabled Access & Wheelchair Accessibility | Dermot Kennedy

We drove down to Manchester from Scotland to see the amazing Dermot Kennedy at Albert Hall. We had been looking forward to this gig for such a long time so we were pleased he didn’t disappoint nor did the venue. Everything from preshow communication, to the excellent venue staff and accessibility throughout the venue, were all top class. Here is my wheelchair accessible review of Albert Hall Manchester.

An exterior shot of the Albert Hall Manchester at night lit up. The bands tour bus is parked out front the venue.

Booking Accessible Tickets At Albert Hall Manchester

“Albert Hall Manchester prides itself on being accessible to everyone.” There is a great section on their website dedicated to accessibility. It provides everything from booking tickets, what to expect on the night and the facilities.

The process for booking accessible tickets is straightforward as you can book a standard ticket online and then fill out the online Access Requirements Form to let the venue know your access requirements. You can request a free PA ticket when filling out the form.

Last year we had tickets for Dermot at Liverpool, but unfortunately, the day before the gig the venue got in touch to let us know the venues lift had broken down. We were devastated especially as we couldn’t attend the Glasgow gig because the venue wasn’t wheelchair accessible.

Dermot’s manager heard about it and offered us tickets to another show. We picked Manchester and couldn’t wait for the gig. It was super exciting to be on Dermot Kennedy’s guest list. Thank you to his amazing tour manager for organising it all.

Arriving at Albert Hall Manchester

We were staying at Crowne Plaza Manchester Oxford Road for two nights which was very close to the venue. As soon as we approached Albert Hall Manchester, we noticed there were people queuing up waiting to enter. One of the security spotted us straight away and asked if we were here for the gig. He immediately took us around the building to the accessible entrance.

Door steward wearing hi-vis vest at the accessible entrance of Albert Hall Manchester

The accessible entrance does have steps but then the stairclimber appeared.

The accessible entrance with the doors open and a view inside of the steward pushing the stairclimber out and down the steps.

Stairclimber at Albert Hall Manchester

I was completely aware before arriving that I would be using a stairclimber to access the venue. The website clearly explains this along with details of the machine and the weight capacity which can accommodate 200kg.

The super lovely door supervisor, Tom was the one operating the stairclimber. He explained how it would work and helped guide me on to it and secured my wheelchair in place.

There was also the lovely Clare who helped Tom and stood at the front of me, holding my chair and making sure everything was OK.

Emma sitting in her powered wheelchair outside the Albert Hall beside the stairclimber. She is waiting to drove onto the stairclimber and enter the venue.

They were both great, chatting away and making me feel comfortable the entire way up. The stairclimber took around twenty minutes to climb the stairs, but it didn’t feel that long. I think Tom and Claire being so nice and chatting to me made the experience easier and relaxed.

Emma is in her wheelchair and sitting in the stairclimber machine. It is tilted back. There is a steward standing behind the stairclimber and one standing in front.Emma is in her wheelchair and sitting in the stairclimber machine. It is tilted back. There is a steward standing behind the stairclimber and one standing in front.

The accessibility area is on the second floor with 52 steps between the two floors. On each landing, Tom would manoeuvre the stairclimber and line it up with the next set of stairs. I felt completely secure and the headrest helped support my head when tilted back.

Once at the top of the stairs, Tom unclipped the belts and held my shoulders back while I drove off the stairclimber to save me from falling forward because I don’t have any trunk control.

Emma is in her wheelchair and sitting in the stairclimber machine. It is at the bottom of the flight of stairs. There is a steward standing behind the stairclimber and one standing in front. Emma is in her wheelchair and sitting in the stairclimber machine. It is tilted back at the bottom of the flight of stairs. There is a steward standing behind the stairclimber and one standing in front.

The stairclimber can look a little scary to some people, but it wasn’t as daunting as it looks. Albert Hall Manchester has the stairclimber to enable wheelchair users to access the building and attend gigs.

There are so many listed buildings that we haven’t been able to attend because there is no lift. It would be fantastic if they got a stairclimber like Albert Hall Manchester.

Emma is in her wheelchair and sitting in the stairclimber machine. It is at the bottom of the flight of stairs. There is a steward standing behind the stairclimber and one standing in front. Emma is in her wheelchair and sitting in the stairclimber machine. It is tilted back and at the top of the flight of stairs. There is a steward standing behind the stairclimber and one standing in front.A view from the top of the stairs looking down the flights.

Barrowland in Glasgow is an example of this. There have been countless gigs we’ve missed out on because the venue isn’t wheelchair accessible. They now have a stairclimber but it can only accommodate manual wheelchairs. Powered wheelchair users, like myself, still cannot attend.

This was one of the reasons we choose Albert Hall Manchester to see Dermot Kennedy because I couldn’t attend his Barrowland gig.

Instead, we chose to drive the 500 miles round trip to see him in Manchester at an accessible venue that caters for powered wheelchairs. Well done Albert Hall Manchester.

Accessible Seating at Albert Hall Manchester

When we got to the top of the stairs, the lovely Em was waiting for us. Em was in charge of the accessible and VIP seating area.

Em had already asked some people to move before I got off the stairclimber, which was helpful and made it easier when driving in. We were shown to our spot which Em made sure would give us the best view. Thank you!

A side on view of Emma and her wheelchair sitting in the wheelchair accessible seating area at Albert Hall Manchester.The view of the stage from the accessibility area while the support act was on stage.

Em explained everything to us and was always within view if we needed anything. They were very attentive and fully aware of everything that was going on and made sure no one was blocking our view.

There was a drinks runner the whole night so whenever we wanted a drink they would take our order and bring it back to us. Amazing!

A photo collage of Emma holding a tour t-shirt she got from Dermot Kennedy gig.

During the gig, Em asked if I’d like anything from the merch stand. They explained everything that was there and even offered to go down and take photos on their phone to make it easier to see and decide what I’d like.

This is the first time this has ever been offered to me at a gig and I really appreciated it. I choose a long-sleeved tour t-shirt. Thanks to Dermot’s manager for hooking me up with this. I love it!

Emma with the accessibility team at Albert Hall Manchester.
Emma with Tom, Clare and Em at Albert Hall Manchester

A massive thank you to the amazing accessibility team at Albert Hall Manchester. They were all fantastic, friendly and so helpful. In particular a big shout out to Em, Tom and Clare who helped assist in getting me in and out of the venue via the stairclimber and looking after us in the accessibility area.

Staff can make or break an experience, but it was lovely to meet them and they are another reason I’d happily visit Albert Hall Manchester again.

I was also super impressed with the communication and quick responsiveness from Charli the supervisor and accessibility coordinator. Charli always got back to my emails leading up to the gig, answered all my questions and even came to meet us on the night to ensure everything was alright. Great customer service from all the staff and accessibility team we encountered. Brilliant!

Accessible Toilet

The accessible toilet was much bigger than I expected. I love when that happens. The toilet is on the other side of the accessible area. Although the staff said they’d help clear a path for me to get to the toilet, I decided to wait until the show had ended to use it as it seemed easier and saved having to get people to move mid-show.

Other than the typical accessibility features like grab rails, space for manoeuvring etc, there were toiletries including deodorant, hand cream and female sanitary products placed on the shelf and inside a box. Nice little touches that make a difference. Oh, and the toilet had a RADAR key, which was great.

Emma in the accessible toilet at Albert Hall Manchester.
Accessible toilet at Albert Hall Manchester.
Accessible toilet at Albert Hall Manchester. Toilet and washbasin sink witih grab rails.

Video of The Stairclimber In Action

I was keen to share my experience using the stairclimber with anyone who has never seen it in action so we decided to film it. I hope it helps give you an idea of what it is like to use the stairclimber.

Dermot Kennedy

Dermot Kennedy is quite simply outstanding. We’ve been waiting for such a long time to see him perform live, but all I can say is wow. He was absolutely worth the wait. Such an incredibly talented singer-songwriter and musician.

Every song is performed at 200% and the power in his voice is unbelievable. Please go check him out as I’m sure you will agree.

Dermot Kennedy Albert Hall Manchester (10) Dermot Kennedy Albert Hall Manchester (10) Dermot Kennedy Albert Hall Manchester (10)

Dermot’s set and lights all complimented each other to create an amazing atmosphere. The beautiful venue with its stained glass windows, high ceilings added that extra intimate feel.

During his set, Dermot actually stopped playing as there were two people causing a bit of a bother, standing up and causing a disturbance to the people around them not to mention distracting Dermot due to being in his eye line.

Dermot explained that people should be considerate of others around and behind them, and not block anyone from seeing the show by standing up. I couldn’t have been happier at that moment. Dermot gets it!

Dermot Kennedy Albert Hall Manchester (10) Dermot Kennedy Albert Hall Manchester (10) Dermot Kennedy Albert Hall Manchester (10) Dermot Kennedy Albert Hall Manchester (10)

Most people do not consider others when at gigs. If they want to stand up to dance and throw their arms about even if that means completely blocking the people behind them from seeing, then who cares, they will do it anyway. However, Dermot didn’t want that happening at his gig. Well done Dermot Kennedy.

Final Thoughts

Albert Hall Manchester is a fantastic venue with great disabled access and wheelchair accessibility. There are many venues that can learn a few things from Albert Hall Manchester. In particular, how they pride themselves on being accessible, how their staff are dedicated, friendly and disability aware, and of course the stairclimber.

Despite being a Grade II listed building and due to restrictions they are not able to have a lift, but instead of leaving it at that, they have purchased a stairclimber that not only takes manual wheelchairs but powered wheelchairs. The stairclimber is a great piece of equipment that enables powered wheelchair users to feel welcome and attend shows at this venue.

The interior of the venue is impressive with what appears like its original (church) features including beautiful stain glass windows, high moulded ceilings and pillars. We loved the view from the accessibility area and the accessible toilet was really good too.

Dermot Kennedy was outstanding and we can’t wait to see him again at the end of the year. We are so glad we decided to travel to Manchester to this accessible venue as it did not disappoint one little bit. Albert Hall Manchester, we will see you again soon (hopefully).

Have you been to Albert Hall Manchester? How did you find disabled access and wheelchair accessibility?

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Meet Emma

Meet Emma

Hello I’m Emma. My mission is to show you the possibilities of accessible travel through my travel guides, tips and reviews. I also share personal stories, live event reviews and more.

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4 Responses

  1. What a terrific experience! I’ll make note of the stair climber for discussions with the staff and counsellors at Victoria City Hall here in Victoria, BC.

    1. Thank you Allan! Please let me know how you get on after speaking with the staff and counsellors. Hope it goes well.

  2. Hi Emma,
    thank you for providing such a thorough and readable review. It was so helpful seeing your video of the wheelchair stairclimber and will help give confidence to someone thinking of using one in the future. You’re quite right in saying well done to Albert Hall for investing in one!

    Also, thank you so much for including photos of the toilets. For me it is crucial to have 115cm space in front of the loo measuring from the edge of the seat for my transfers and the all important 2 horizontal grab rails (usually one drops down) on either side of the toilet, without which I’m stuck!. Thus photos are invaluable as sometimes enquiring that information from a venue can be tricky and answers unclear! Unfortunately Albert Hall only had the one attached to the wall!

    At Easter I went to Barcelona with my 13 year old son, his friend and his mum and loved it.

    You kindly gave me some Park Guell loo information. I noticed that they don’t seem to mark the existence of the disabled loo on the signs outside and you have to bypass the cramped queues of ladies to get to it! I wonder if it’s the same scenario for the men…? I was delighted to be able to get around almost all of the park and loved the mosaics (I used to make mosaics before the MS stopped me from being able to stand and has affected my fine motor skills.)

    As you mentioned no cobbles in the Gothic Quarter was a god send and The Segrada Familia was awe inspiring, so lovely to be bathed in coloured light and very accessible even if the toilets were on a challenging slope – thank goodness for motorised wheelchairs!

    I stayed in Hotel SB Icaria, Avenida Icaria 195, 08005 near the Olympic Port. It was very open plan and spacious, plenty of room in the bedroom for the wheelchair and a good sized wet room with curtains around the shower making it easy to manoeuvre a self- propelled shower chair.

    I would go back to Barcelona without hesitation if wasn’t for the terrible (for me) loos at El Prat airport. At check in the grab rails were ridiculously high and the loo ridiculously low!! In departures the very nice ‘assistance’ man showed me their super huge apparently recently updated disabled toilet – it only had one horizontal grab rail, therefore unusable for me which meant I had to wait dehydrated for 5 hours before I could use the toilet at Bristol! I’ve contacted Aena, the managing body of El Prat about this issue. How did you find the facilities at the airport?

    I’m thinking of starting a blog any hints or tips?

    Emma keep up the good invaluable work and take care,

    best wishes,

    Nicky

    1. Hi Nicky

      Thank you so much for your lovely and supportive comment. I appreciate your kind words so much. Thank you!

      I’m thrilled you found this review helpful and enjoyed the photos and video too. I always try and capture as much detail as I can to hopefully help others decide whether something will work for them or not.

      Great to hear you loved Barcelona! It’s a beautiful city and very accessible. I’d also go back without hesitation. We often speak about returning so hopefully one day soon. Sorry to hear you had problems with the accessibility of the toilets in the airport, especially as you had to wait 5 hours before you could use the toilet in Bristol. I found the toilets worked okay for me and because I need assistance from my partner, I didn’t have to use the grab rails, but I can understand how difficult it would have been for you.

      That is excellent you are thinking of starting a blog. I’d say absolutely go for it. I’d recommend a WordPress blog as I personally think WP is better. Please let me know when you set it up as I’d love to follow your adventures 🙂 Let me know if you have any more questions and I’ll try my best to help.

      Thanks again and best wishes
      Emma

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